Build your own Eclipse Webcast Viewer!

On March 29, 2006 there will be a total solar eclipse, which is when the moon moves directly between the sun and the Earth. It won't be visible here in the U.S., but even if you don't live in Brazil, North Africa, Turkey or East Asia you can join in the fun! The San Francisco Exploratorium is hosting a big eclipse party starting at 9pm Pacific time, and they'll be hosting a webcast of the eclipse live from a Roman amphitheater in Turkey.

The most important thing to remember when viewing an eclipse is never view an eclipse with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope! That's because the sun will fry your eyeballs like a grape in the microwave. So to enjoy next week's eclipse webcast safely, just follow these simple instructions to build a pinhole eclipse webcast viewer.

  1. Equipment: two boxes, aluminum foil, exacto-knife, paper, pin, laptop, and of course duct tape.

  2. Cut a small hole in the side of each of your boxes, so you can look from the inside of one box into another.

  3. Tape aluminum foil over one of the two holes. Poke a small pinhole in foil.

  4. On the other box, tape a white piece of paper on the inside wall opposite the hole you cut. This is your viewscreen.

  5. Just above the viewscreen, cut a flap. This is the hole you'll watch the eclipse through.

  6. Put the two boxes end-to-end, with the two small holes and the foil touching each other. Start up your eclipse webcast, and put the laptop into the first box, facing the pinhole.

  7. Put the lids back on both boxes, and view the eclipse through your view hole. Enjoy!

Remember: do not look directly at the eclipse webcast! Only view the projection of the eclipse on your viewscreen.